3 indicted in drone plot at Maryland correctional facility

A drone police say 25-year-old Thaddeus Shortz and 29-year-old Keith Russell planned to fly over a Maryland prison wall, carrying contraband, on Aug. 22, 2015.

CBS Baltimore

BALTIMORE - A grand jury indicted three men accused of plotting to fly a drone carrying contraband over a Maryland prison wall, reports CBS Baltimore.

Police say they caught 25-year-old Thaddeus Shortz and 29-year-old Keith Russell parked along a road near the Maryland's Western Correctional Institution. The duo were allegedly preparing to send a store-bought dronecarrying tobacco, a synthetic marijuana called spice, and pornographic DVDs into the prison.

Investigators say an inmate who is serving a life sentence, 43-year-old Charles Westley Brooks, was planning to collect and distribute the goods.

Shortz and Russell were indicted on more than three dozen felony and misdemeanor counts, including narcotics and illegal gun possession charges. Brooks faces 33 misdemeanor counts, including possession of drugs, contraband and a telecommunications device.

CBS Baltimore reports that the incident was the first time in Maryland's history someone was caught trying to use a drone to smuggle contraband, but prison officials think it's happened before. They say they're studying ways to detect drones and protect airspace around prison yards.